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Traps To Your Happiness: Part 7 (The Circumstances Edition)

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Traps To Your Happiness: Part 7 (The Circumstances Edition)

Almost all of us believe we will finally be happy once something changes in our lives. Depending on who we are, the changes we believe will bring us happiness could include finding a different (or better) job, a different (or better) home, a different (or better – or new) spouse, or [insert the different or better change you are hoping for]. The truth is, we all believe that if some aspect our personal or professional circumstances change we can finally achieve happiness. But this belief is wrong.

While it is a good thing to want to improve and trade up in life, it is a bad thing to base our happiness solely on achieving the results we want. The reason is because the results we are hoping to get often only leave us temporarily satisfied (if and) once we get them – and therefore they leave us temporarily happy. But it gets worse. If we don’t know whether or not we can actually get the results we want – if we can’t control the process or timing or even the outcome of the results we want – we become very insecure. We become fearful. We start to compromise or manipulate or force our way into the results we think will bring us that elusive happiness. And in the process, our happiness diminishes because we are too stressed out or worked up over how we might not get what we want or what could go wrong to truly appreciate all of the other things that are going right in our lives.

The reality is, we will all experience a range of different circumstances in life. Rich or poor, young or old, all of us will one day or another live the good, the bad, and the ugly. But seasons of the good (circumstances), the bad (circumstances), and the ugly (circumstances) are all only temporary. They might not feel temporary. But they are. If we want to break out of basing our happiness on finally getting every circumstance we have longed hoped for – of living what we define as the “perfect life” (however we individually define this) – we will need to stop believing that only happy circumstances can lead to a happy life. What leads to a happy life is liking yourself, embracing that you’re here to learn valuable life lessons, and having the faith (the BELIEF) that the path you’re on can be enjoyed whether you see the rainbow at the end of the road or if you’re presently on a detour.

Dr. Rob Carpenter - known simply as “Dr. Rob” - is a transformational author, filmmaker, and CEO whose mission is to entertain, empower, and uplift people and humanity.

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Entertainment

3 Things Forrest Gump Teaches Us About Authenticity

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3 Things Forrest Gump Teaches Us About Authenticity

The movie Forrest Gump is a brilliant depiction of an underdog who overcomes the odds. Not only does Forrest – the main character in the eponymous film – succeed despite his own shortcomings, but he succeeds despite the ridicule of others. 

If you don’t remember the plot of the story, here’s an abbreviated version: Forrest is born in the deep South during segregation times. He is handicapped, mentally slow, and fatherless (well, he doesn’t know he’s fatherless – his mom just tells him his dad is “on vacation”). Forrest is made fun of relentlessly and nobody wants to sit next to him on the bus – except a little girl named “Jennie,” who Forrest falls in love with and pursues the rest of his life. Forrest miraculously overcomes his handicap and, over the course of the movie, experiences a series of extraordinary moments and events that seem almost too good to be true. He wins a scholarship to play football, becomes a decorated war hero, takes over a shrimping business and becomes a millionaire, and finally wins Jennie – and fathers a son with her – before she passes away. Forrest is a true – and unlikely – American hero.

Although most discussions of Forrest Gump seem to be centered around him as an “underdog,” I believe it is actually his authenticity that is his most striking attribute. Here are 3 things his character teaches us about being true to our most authentic selves:

  1. When you’re authentic, some people will make fun of you. Forrest never tried to be anyone other than who he was – and that earned him ridicule from classmates, fellow soldiers, and various people throughout his life. They called him “stupid” and were stunned that he could succeed despite their labels of him and low expectations about his life. Likewise, if you and I are attempting to be authentic regardless of our backgrounds (or of whether people think we’re smart or not) some will ridicule us because we’re not like them. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t let it bother us as their opinions of us don’t determine our destinies.
  1. When you’re authentic, you often end up doing the unexpected – and sometimes the extraordinary. Throughout his life, Forrest wasn’t plotting and planning his way to money, power, or success, yet he got those things anyway. He was simply always trying to be who he was, trying to be a good person, and trying to do the right things at all times. For example, he earned the Congressional Medal of Honor and became a millionaire simply because he was trying to help others around him. For us, if we develop integrity as an attribute and follow through on supporting those around us, we will find ourselves in positions of greater influence – and will receive rewards we might never respect. I have found this to be true in my own life especially when I take my eyes off of myself and focus on simply doing the right things (the benefits that flow from doing this have often been immense).
  1. When you’re authentic, others will be inspired by you eventually. Even though Forrest was made fun of and just concentrated on doing what he felt to be right, he became a source of inspiration for others. He became an example for them. He became a north star so to speak. But why? People who formerly ridiculed him – like “Lieutenant Dan” who was his commanding officer in the Vietnam war – eventually saw how real he was and left everything behind to go work for him. When you and I are being authentic, we may not realize it but other people are paying close attention and some may be motivated to be better people in their own lives simply because they are observing us trying to be better in our own.

Forrest Gump is a film that teaches us many life lessons, but being authentic is one of the most important. Yes, we might be made fun of when we are trying to be authentic. But it will always be worth it because we will often end up doing unexpectedly great things and often inspire others along the way – even those who previously ridiculed us. 

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Ask Dr. Rob

Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Eliminate Imposter Syndrome?

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Dear Dr. Rob: How Do I Eliminate Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is real. Not only does it make you feel like a phony, but it makes you feel like you’re going to get “caught” for being this so-called phony.

But regardless of if you have just recently started to feel like a phony – or if you have been feeling like a phony for a long time – you will continuously have to grapple with this phenomenon. And if you don’t master or overcome it now, it could have debilitating effects on your self-esteem, identity, and relationships with others over the long term.

When you feel like an imposter, the feeling of not being “good enough” will dominate your thoughts. And so too will the fear of being rejected if somebody finds out you are not supposed to be as successful as you are (or in the position that you’re in). As a consequence, you will continue to “compensate” by trying to be ever more successful just to prove to others (and yourself) that your accomplishments are not a fluke. Yet with each new shiny star you add to your resume, you still just can’t seem to shake this feeling that you’re about to be exposed as a big fat fake.

Even though you know you’re not a fake, it can still be difficult to convince yourself that you aren’t. But you can still do it. Here are a few helpful tips to overcome the imposter syndrome that might be weighing you down. 

  1. Embrace that “fitting in” is the enemy. When you understand that the desire to fit into a certain group that you crave to be a part of causes and perpetuates your own insecurities, you can begin to reject the idea that you “need to” fit in (through success or accolades). By rejecting this need to belong to a specific group, you will relieve yourself of the pressure that this group will make or break your identity, self-confidence, and self-worth. Now this doesn’t mean that you can’t still pursue your goals and succeed within the context of this group; it just means that you are rejecting the idea that fitting in or being accepted by others is the goal (and purpose) of your life (or success). Fitting in is not the goal; being successful is and you can do that whether you fit in or not (even if not fitting in is a little more difficult to do). 
  1. Overcome the fear of failure and rejection. By fearing failure and rejection, you are really just fearing people’s fickle opinions about you. And as a result, you are trying desperately to prove to them that you matter. But even if you do prove to them you matter you might secretly believe that you don’t and so you will be keeping yourself in a straightjacket of fear that is deepening your imposter syndrome. To break this, you have to stop fearing failure and rejection and start accepting that fact that you will fail at times and be rejected by some but that this is not the end of the world (or as important as you think it is). Just be your best – that is all that matters.
  1. Embrace that you are “better than you think.” Because people – especially successful people- tend to judge themselves rather harshly, it can be difficult for them to get an accurate (or compassionate) perspective about themselves. So they see themselves as less capable and powerful than they truly are. This negative self-image worsens and worsens and, over time, becomes the default identity that fuels imposter syndrome. However, like with # 2, this can be overcome by simply starting to think better thoughts about yourself (you can do this by speaking or writing positive things about yourself, among other things).

Eliminating imposter syndrome will be a great challenge for you but you can successfully do it so long as you start re-calibrating how you think about yourself. Once you make a few adjustments, you can get rid of the feeling that you’re a phony because you most certainly are not. 

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Empowerment

Stepping Into Your Greatness Part 1: Choosing To Be Great

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STEPPING INTO YOUR GREATNESS PART 1: CHOOSING TO BE GREAT

What if I told you that you are CHOSEN to be great? What if I told you that you are DESTINED to be great? What if I told you that I can GUARANTEE that you will live a great life? I realize these questions might make you a little skeptical, might make you ask what I’m smoking, or  might even make you report me to some sort of higher authority. But I also realize that these questions might make you curious, might make you want to know more, and might make you ask how you can step into your own greatness.

But before we talk about accessing your GREATNESS, let’s define what greatness actually is.

You see, greatness is not money, power, or fame. Greatness is not historic records or trophies or rewards. And greatness is not receiving validation from others telling you how great you are.

Yes, some of these things are the rewards of greatness. But they’re not greatness themselves.

Greatness is not a product or result or a destination. Greatness is not a thing. Greatness is a mindset. But it’s a particular kind of mindset.

Greatness is a mindset that says you will focus on achieving your goals despite distractions. Despite haters. Despite the obstacles that stand in your way.

Greatness is a determination that says you will commit to living a life of excellence, of honor, and of wisdom personally and professionally.

Greatness is a conscious act that says you will commit to finding your truth and living it authentically.

In other words, greatness is a thoughtful act of choosing to be the REAL YOU. It’s a thoughtful act of choosing to stop pretending to be something you’re not. It’s a thoughtful act of choosing to live your life unafraid of the true you being exposed to the world.

But so often we choose not to be the real us. It’s too scary we think. It’s too risky. But when we choose to live comfortably or complacently – to live fearfully – we are rejecting the greatness within us. As one commentator said, “we no longer have voices in this generation, we only have echos.” Imitations. Replicas. Chameleons of every age, race, and gender.

You see, your greatness will start when you decide to live divorced from being a chameleon. Divorced from being an echo of others’ opinions, others’ expectations, and others’ desires to put you in a box. Your greatness will start when you divorce yourself from the labels others try to give you so that they can define you – so they can define you as being cool but average, being nice but unremarkable. 

In order for you to become the REAL YOU – the GREAT YOU – you will have to adopt a mindset that most of the people around you do not have. You will have to become genuinely authentic. You will have to get over being comfortable or complacent as a life goal. You will have to withdraw from being somebody else’s label. You will have to choose to believe in your own voice. In other words, you will have to choose to step into the greatness that I know exists within you as the first step to becoming great. 

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